Family grieves for 8-year-old boy struck and killed by train
December 23, 2012 (EAST CHICAGO, Ind.) (WLS) -- On Friday, Jaylen Harris participated in his school's Christmas program.
Now his single father and three siblings have to spend the holidays without the eight-year-old.
"Christmas will never be the same", his father Jeremiah Harris said. "'I have to put the pieces together and try to move on."
Jaylen Harris was struck and killed by a CSX train in East Chicago, Ind. Saturday.
His family, friends and neighbors gathered together to mourn his untimely loss Sunday.
"He was a bright young man with a bright future but he was taken away," Harris said with tears streaming down his face as he clutched onto his son's favorite action figures.
The toys were Christmas gifts Harris received just one day before his death.
Harris was headed back from the local library with two friends Saturday afternoon. The children stopped and waited for an eastbound train to pass.
Harris then attempted to cross the tracks just as a westbound train approached.
His friends yelled at him to come back but when he turned around, he was struck and killed.
Friends from the area gathered at the accident site to place teddy bears and candles.
"He was a humble and quiet dude, loved to play sports," his friend Jalen Gordon said.
There have been similar situations at the site, the intersection near Magoun and Lewis, according to East Chicago police.
"For the amount of kids that play on this street, this is the main route to get to the library, they should have at least pedestrian gates," the victim's grandfather James Harris said.
Freight train company CSX did not comment about this case. A spokesman told ABC7 that it's a police investigation.
Funeral arrangements for Jaylen Harris are pending.
local, diane pathieu
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